Every day we are enjoying food together with our family or friends and food helps us to stay healthy. But how can we prepare foods that are better balanced so that you will prefer them over ‘unhealthy’ products and how can we make these products in a sustainable way? Finding answers to these questions is the goal of the Food Engineering group. We warmly invite you to help achieve our dream. A thesis at the Food Process Engineering group is preparing better foods in a better way.
Our research is very divers. Some examples are:
- preparing tasty vegetable protein products
- studying how solid food products are digested in the stomach to design healthier products
- micro-engineered systems to produce emulsion products with unprecedented quality
- nano-structuring of emulsion based products for better bioavailability
- developing milder drying processes which are energy efficient
- precisely measure the effect of processing on biopolymers with new designed instruments
Most of our work is in good collaboration with major food industries that are present in The Netherlands and abroad. But we also work together with a range of national and international academic groups of the best universities in the world. These collaborations can help you in your future career. In June 2015, our research was evaluated by a team of globally leading experts. They found our research excellent on all aspects, acclaiming the innovativeness of our work, our combination of fundamental and applied research, and our state-of-the-art experimental infrastructure. So you can be assured of the quality of your thesis project.
Interesting in taking up these challenge? Read the complete invitation of professor Remko Boom.
Before starting a thesis
If you would like to start a thesis project, it is wise to check out the possibilities beforehand. You could do this by exploring our website (http://www.wur.nl/fpe) or by reading the thesis booklet. This booklet is available at the Food Programme Information Brightspace site or if you do not have access to this site you can send a request via email to Chantal Doeswijk).
You will find out, that most thesis projects are supervised by PhD students or Post-docs, but also by an assistant or associate professor. In all cases, you will take part of the research of your supervisor and you will conduct research on a sub-project.
For selection of a BSc thesis (BLT) you are free to choose between all available topics (check with your study advisor, whether he/she agrees on your choice). For an MSc thesis, the topics can be restricted, dependent on your study and specialization. If you are not sure whether the topic you like fits within your specialisation, please contact your study advisor.
If you are interested in doing your thesis project outside of the university, at a research institute for example, you have to discuss this possibility with prof. Remko Boom. This step is necessary in order to guarantee the quality of your research experience: the project and the supervision should meet our department standards.
Within Food Technology, a thesis application procedure is used to allocate thesis topics to students. Also students of other programmes can make use of this procedure. For more information you can send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with as title “Registration thesis procedure Food”. Please also mention from which program you are. The Food Science team will make sure you receive all important information and get access to the thesis platform.
Before you actually start you should have the necessary prerequisites: For an MSc thesis, mandatory knowledge is either Transfer Processes (FPE-31306) or Food Structuring (FPE-30306) or Sustainable Food and Bioprocessing (FPE-30806). In case of updates, the information in the study handbook is leading.
You do not have to register via SSC for the thesis. It is sufficient to agree with your supervisor on the starting date.
If any questions still remain after having read this, you may approach the contact person for the theses: Chantal Doeswijk.
We hope you'll not only learn a lot during your thesis project, but that you will also have a great time in our group.
Starting the thesis project
Before you will start your thesis project, you will be contacted by email@example.com. Behind this email address are our secretaries. They will ask you to fill in some forms and will make sure you will have access to the building, FPE group email, some shared folders etc. On the first day of your thesis project, your supervisor will introduce you to the group. At the beginning of the project you will fill in the Wageningen University Thesis Learning Agreement. Your supervisor can help you filling in. Normally you start your project by reading literature to have more background knowledge about your subject. Together with your supervisor you will decide when to start with the actual research.
FPE is having their group meeting on Thursday mornings, starting at 8.30h. We expect all group members (as a thesis student you are seen as one of our group members) to attend the plenary group meetings. It is our habit that new group members present themselves by mentioning your name, your research subject and the name of your supervisor.
It is compulsory to follow a safety course, since you have to be aware of the risks of your activities in the lab and know the rules for safety. You will be invited for this meeting via FPE office. The safety course is usually offered on a monthly basis. Next to this safety course, you are also obliged to participate in a tour of our labs, where you will receive important information on working in the lab. This lab-tour is organized by our technicians. In case of questions you can contact our technician Maurice Strubel.
Students will give their oral presentation during the Thursday morning group meetings. The schedule of the Thursday morning meeting is sent via email to all FPE group members.
After 4-6 weeks, you'll give a short presentation (10 min.) to introduce your research, your aim, hypothesis and approach. You might want to include some initial experiments. At the end of your thesis period you will have your final presentation (colloquium, 20 min.) about the final results of your thesis project. Your presentations are always reviewed with focus on the contents and the presentation techniques. Moreover these presentations are useful for feedback and tips from the audience.
A progress evaluation will be done after 2 months. This is intended to evaluate your performance so far and includes the knowledge level and learning curve, planning and organisation of the project, study of literature, initiative and creativity, functioning in the team, writing and presentation skills. The progress evaluation helps you to identify points for improvement. In exceptional cases the progress evaluation can lead to termination of the thesis.
Thesis rings are a key aspect to assist you in the writing process and to acquire skills to critically evaluate work assignments and reports of fellow students. This will be done in weekly meetings which will take max. 1 hour. These meetings are compulsory and will be chaired by a staff member or Postdoc.
Work assignment and report
Within 6 weeks you will write a work assignment about the background and the goals of your research. You will submit a draft version of the work assignment to the thesis ring in order to get feedback from your peers. Only after this feedback, you will send the work assignment to your supervisor. After discussion and approval by your supervisor the work assignment is distributed among all FPE group members. It is useful to include a picture in the form.
Writing the thesis report is part of the research project: you should reserve enough time for this activity. The introduction and materials and methods often can be already written in an early stage. Three weeks before the final date, at least the outline and contents should be ready. A draft version should be handed in to the supervisor, who will make suggestions/comments for the final version. When the final thesis is ready, you will hand in a pdf to your supervisor and the persons evaluating your thesis work. Usually this is done at least one week before the final evaluation meeting. You also have to send a pdf of your thesis to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is meant for the archive of FPE.
Final meeing and Grading
If you have finished your final report, your thesis work will be evaluated during a final meeting with your supervisors and the examiner. During this meeting you will get questions about the contents of your thesis project and your report. Afterwards you will receive a grade. The evaluation forms are available via Teams.
The grade is then reported to the student administration. Note that you do not have to register in advance for a thesis.
Termination of thesis work
When you finish your practical thesis work:
- Put equipment and chemicals back in place or discard as prescribed.
- Notify lab head of your departure.
- Clear working area and clean up for next user.
- Make sure that your supervisor has a copy of your datafiles, lab journal and other relevant data.